Millennials, Gen Z Driving Surge in Fresh Food Consumption

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Millennials, Gen Z Driving Surge in Fresh Food Consumption


The consumption of fresh foods grew by 20 percent to more than 100 billion eatings from 2003-2013, a trend driven primarily by Generation Z and Millennials, The NPD Group found.

According to NPD's "The Future of Eating: Who's Eating What in 2018," fresh foods – such as fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish and eggs – will play an even more central role in all three main meal occasions over the next five years.

Breakfast will see the greatest incorporation of fresh foods during that time, at 9 percent, followed by 7 percent at lunch and 5 percent at dinner.

“Generation Z and Millennials are driving changes in this country’s eating behaviors with their approach to food choice and preparation,” said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. 

“Foods on the store’s perimeter will benefit from this increasing interest in fresh," Seifer said, adding that manufacturers of center store items and retailers can take advantage of this trend by linking their products to fresh foods in innovative ways.

Fruits in particular will be a key factor in the growth of ready-to-eat better-for-you snacking over the next five years, the report found, with the youngest generations driving this trend as well. These consumers are more likely to value freshness and nutrition when looking for a snack, and convenience increasingly involves more better-for-you snacks as part of a meal or consumed between meals.

The report also noted an increased interest in organic foods among these younger consumers, a trend that has re-emerged following a decline beginning in 2008 attributed to the recession.